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Contented Tisdale is pleased to see work on training ground bear fruit

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 19, 2013

Exeter City's Jamie Cureton will have to wait to make his 700th career appearance PICTURE: MAT MINGO/Pinnacle

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Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale believes months of hard work on the training ground is beginning to come to fruition.

The Grecians travel to Bristol Rovers today having lost once in their last eight games and that run of form has pushed them up to third place in npower League Two.

Tisdale's side were thwarted in their attempts to equal a club-record sixth straight away win at Torquay United on Tuesday, where Alan Gow's late penalty salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw.

But such is the confidence Tisdale has in his players right now that he would back them to get a result whoever they were playing.

"It's about us being compact within our team pattern and lots of connection between players," Tisdale said. "Those are the things I see improving and in isolation, there is nothing that you can put your finger on. The whole team seems to be in sync.

"I expect us to go into any game at the moment and I would back us to be in it. If we were a goal down or a goal up, I think we'd win most games that we play in.

"This is the way I like my season to go. It builds momentum and it is the tangibles that you can't necessarily see in front of you that pull a team closer together and make them play better.

"They are the things where, if you work with a group of players over a period of time, you begin to improve. I think we are showing signs of that."

The Grecians will be missing John O'Flynn for today's clash and the former Barnet man will be sidelined for at least a month after tearing his hamstring at Torquay.

"It is very hard to tell after a few days how long it will be, or how quickly he will recover, but he will certainly be out for the next month," Tisdale said.

"It could have been a lot worse, we could have ended up with neither 'number nine' available, but Jamie [Cureton] is back from suspension."

Cureton was Exeter's scorer when the two side's met at St James' Park earlier this season. It was a game the Grecians dominated but lost 2-1 on an afternoon Rovers picked up their first win of the season.

"We played really well against them earlier in the season and we haven't had many better first halves," Tisdale said. "We had a very, very poor goal against us out of nothing and we missed as lot of chances ourselves.

"We have to approach every game as if it is the most important of the season and against a team that we think have to offer us some kind of challenge.

"Bristol Rovers have a manager [John Ward] in that – if last week's result [a 3-0 away win at promotion-chasing Fleetwood Town] is anything to go by – has got his team focused and determined. It will be a challenging game.

"It's a good place to play football, there will be a good atmosphere and I am sure we will have a good support there as well."

Tisdale is certainly content with where Exeter sit in the League Two standings, but while their away form remains good, home results have not been, although the Grecians did beat promotion rivals Southend last time out on home soil.

"It's about us having two or three months of us having good form now," he said. "The team is building and getting better and I think the supporters should be optimistic knowing we are in the top third of the table with 18 games to go.

"If we slip out of that top three, we shouldn't be any less optimistic.

"There is a long way to go, the supporters should be heartened by the commitment, application and cohesion with which the team are playing at the moment."

Exeter City (from): Krysiak, Evans; Tully, Woodman, Bennett, Baldwin, Coles, Oakley, Gow, Cureton, Davies, Doherty, Amankwaah, Bauza, Keohane, Chamberlain, Dawson, Moore-Taylor, Gosling, Jagger-Cane, Micklewright, Roper, Wannell, Anderson.

Unavailable: Frear, Knowles, Nichols (out on loan), Sercombe (ankle), O'Flynn (hamstring).

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